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Logistics Operations

Our logistics operations provide the safe and efficient transport of parts and components from our suppliers to our manufacturing plants (“inbound” freight), and of finished vehicles from our plants to our dealerships (“outbound” freight).

Managing Logistics

With activities coordinated regionally, our Material Planning and Logistics (MP&L) organization is responsible for designing and operating our global transportation networks, and devising high-quality and efficient packaging to protect materials in transit. Its environmental initiatives are focused on:

  • Compliance with regulatory standards, including ISO 14001 compliance and updating our fleets in line with the latest requirements
  • Quantifying and reporting our freight GHG emissions
  • Reducing our emissions by improving our transportation and network efficiencies
  • Optimizing our packaging processes

Reporting Freight GHG Emissions

Understanding, quantifying and reporting our freight emissions helps us understand our overall environmental impacts, and prioritize ways to minimize our total life cycle carbon footprint. We work closely with our logistics partners to collect data from across our networks and collate it in a global performance scorecard.

We continue to expand the scope and accuracy of our reporting. For example:

  • We actively supported the development and road testing of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Scope 3 reporting standard (see below)
  • We account for a full range of GHG emissions, including nitrous oxide and methane, as well as CO2
  • We work with industry bodies and standards agencies to promote the ongoing development of improved reporting methods and develop best practices

Assessing and Reporting on Indirect Emissions

The Scope 3 GHG Emissions Standard, developed by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), provides a framework for reporting upstream and downstream emissions in the value chain, from raw material extraction to end-of-life disposal or recycling. We helped in its development and use its methodology for reporting freight emissions from our logistics networks.

As reporting methods have evolved, we have adapted our calculations to take account of other GHGs (using the “CO2 equivalent” approach) and emissions resulting from the production and generation of the fuel and other energy we use (“well-to-wheel” emissions).

We work with the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) in North America to encourage others in the industry to adopt these standards. In Europe, we have worked closely with both the U.K. Department for Transport and Odette International, the European automotive supply chain standards organization, in writing guidance on measuring and reporting GHG emissions.

Reducing Freight Emissions

Freight emissions are influenced by a wide range of interrelated factors, including the mode of transport, the efficiency of the equipment used and the design of the freight network. We seek to achieve emissions reductions in three main ways, as shown below.

Improving Freight Efficiency

We manage our own freight networks to provide more control over route planning.

We use regional distribution centers to coordinate deliveries.

We use “milk run” routes, where one truck visits several collection points, to minimize the number and length of journeys.

By improving load density – the volume of freight on a trailer – we can have fewer trips and reduce fuel consumption.

Best Practice Technologies

Where we operate our own transport fleets, we use the latest engine technologies and equipment modifications such as fixed deflectors and speed limiters.

Our drivers are all trained in fuel-efficient driving techniques.

The latest packaging and equipment designs allow extra loads to be carried, such as improved vehicle stacking on rail wagons.

Alternative Transport Modes

Maximizing the use of rail and river transport reduces both CO2 emissions and traffic congestion.

We use multimodal solutions such as “SWAP bodies” – standard freight rail containers that can be lifted onto dedicated road trailers – to increase the use of rail freight across Europe.

We increasingly use short sea trips for vehicle deliveries to avoid road transport.